In their final home game of the season, the Bruins will try to reignite their winning streak against another conference rival.
No. 4 UCLA men’s water polo (19-2, 0-1 MPSF) will face No. 2 Stanford (17-1, 1-0) on Saturday at Spieker Aquatics Center.
The Bruins fell to the Cardinal earlier this season, losing 8-7 on a last-second shot in the semifinals of the MPSF Invitational.
Freshman attacker Jake Cavano scored twice in his first meeting against the Cardinal and said the Bruins have been focusing on raising both their power play offense and defense.
“We need to work on our 6-on-5 more,” Cavano said. “We’ve been trying to improve that aspect of the game. That is the biggest thing we’ve been working on and it can be greatly improved.”
Cavano was out due to an undisclosed injury in the UCLA’s last game against No. 3 California (16-3, 1-0), but he has scored in every game he has played as a Bruin so far.
The Bruins were 3-of-12 in power play situations in their last meeting against the Cardinal. On the other end, Stanford converted about 33 percent of its 6-on-5 scenarios against the UCLA defense.
Sophomore center Quinten Osborne said the Bruins could have come out of that first meeting with a win if they had executed both their man-up and man-down opportunities.
“That game could have been very different based on two things,” Osborne said. “Our percentage on 6-on-5s and our ability to stay consistent in getting out of our blocks. It’s really just putting the pressure on them when we’re on defense.”
UCLA is also trying to break out of its recent slump, having lost twice in its past three outings. This includes the loss to Stanford and its second game against California.
Osborne said the Bruins came out scared against the Golden Bears, which hurt the team’s confidence throughout the whole game.
“We were playing in a timid state,” Osborne said. “We’re a team that if we come out with the right energy, it really plays into our confidence, especially with a young team. We have a system that we try to work on every practice.”
The Bruins will also hold their Senior Day proceedings before their final home game. Senior defender Warren Snyder said playing in Westwood for the past few years has been wonderful for him.
“I love Spieker Aquatics Center,” Snyder said. “This is my favorite place to play. I wouldn’t rather play anywhere else than UCLA.”